The woman behind Mon Purse, Lana Hopkins, may have had her “Aha” moment in the unlikely place of a Build-a-Bear workshop, but Lana has since established a business based on every women’s dream; to design their own European-made luxury handbag. Today, Mon Purse is a multi-million-dollar business based in Double Bay with a flagship store located on prestigious William Street in Paddington.
Sitchu caught up with Lana to talk about what Mon Purse is up to and her favourite haunts around the Eastern Suburbs.
Q&A with Lana
Tell us a little about yourself? Have you always wanted to pursue accessories design?
I came from a media background, working in print magazine and digital ad sales at News Ltd. I was also part of another start up as Marketing and Sales Director prior to founding Mon Purse, a business my husband James started. The invaluable experience of learning how to drive eyeballs to a site and build a business from scratch paved the way for Mon Purse.
How did the Mon Purse story begin?
Whilst I was on an unsuccessful search for a handbag at Westfield Bondi Junction, I was also looking for a gift for my nephew and found myself an hour later creating a plush toy at the Build-a-Bear workshop. That’s when I realised, those two activities were not mutually exclusive. Sitting in my car after the experience I had my “aha” moment.
Ultimately, Mon Purse stemmed from a personal pain point of not being able to find the perfect handbag. I wanted to solve that problem by building a brand for women in the same position, one that would be affordable, European made and bespoke to them – a first in the handbag luxury accessory market.
After an incredible amount of research and perseverance, I found a factory in Turkey willing to work with the idea. I flew back to Sydney, taught myself how to code, and worked with fellow co-working space tenants to develop the e-commerce backend. That’s how it all began.
Describe your brand in three words?
European. Custom. Premium quality. Just smell the leather!
Why did Mon Purse choose Paddington to open their flagship store?
I’ve always loved William Street. It’s gorgeous and houses intriguing fashion boutiques, Australian designer flagship stores and international staples. It has a European feel and for this reason, it felt like the right location to open our flagship store.
What was the design and styling direction behind the store?
Each of our stores have been carefully designed as Mon Galleries. Each store has roaming iPads and design booths allowing the customer to take the online journey in-store. We wanted customers to have the ability to design on our platform online, and also in-store being able to look, touch, feel, and smell the leather, the hardware, and visualise their design. It was an instant success.
It helped us deliver an astounding conversion due to the confidence our customers have in what they have designed and created for themselves.
What do you think customers love most about the brand?
Our customer-centric focus. It’s not about us, it’s about you.
We give the customer a silhouette and they finish it off to their personal style. Our customer is creating something personal and meaningful for herself or for somebody close to her. So, we aim for personal and meaningful relationships with our customers.
There are no other handbag brands in Australia within the affordable luxury market space who manufacture premium quality handbags in Europe, using only the finest tanneries with leather tanned just for the Mon Purse customer. We are also passionate about celebrating and supporting generational European artisans in the production of our leather goods, and our customer appreciates this.
What’s one ultimate Mon Purse leather staple we should all own?
The Camera Bag with a detachable studded strap.
Its chic, functional and makes a statement. The patent leather is an absolute must have this season. It's all about the straps, thick powerful straps and a strong focus on soft supple leather.
As someone that juggles a global business with busy family life, what are three things you couldn’t get through your day without and why?
- Running is my escape, it's what I often do to relax after a long day or to kick start my morning.
- Our incredible team. They inspire me to be better.
Can you give us a little teaser of what we can expect to see in your upcoming collections?
I can tell you it’s crafted in Italy. As for the rest, you will have to wait and see.
What are the four key fashion pieces a person should be investing in this season?
- Gucci pumps
- Scanlan Theodore velvet bomber
- Reliquia spiral hoop earrings
- Levi original jeans
What’s next for Mon Purse?
Further global expansion. Expanding our beautiful designs and concentrating on world-class customer experience, including delivery.
What’s next for you?
I’m always concentrating on improving the customer experience and working with our talented team on innovating new ideas.
Quick Answers with Mon Purse’s Lana Hopkins...
Ultimate travel destination?
Best splurge item?
Best fashion hack?
Remove red wine stains with a cloth soaked in white wine.
Favourite view in Sydney?
Harbour from Vaucluse